hit it til it breaks

frustrated and in a rage after the last election, I decided that rather than leaving the country or refusing to speak to my Southern family, I was going to talk until their ears turned blue. I gathered up every family email address I could find, and I sent them a nice introductory letter and proceeded to bombard them almost daily with all manner of progressive/liberal/informative articles/cartoons/columns/whatever. This is the poorly updated archive of my exchanges with them.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"horny jerk off situation"

Gawker pointed me to this commentary (which you should go read) on an amusing tid-bit from an article on the collapse of the Iranian reform movement:

The Muk Report: Iranian Teens Going Blind

Seems all the young people wacking off too much because they have satellite tv. Whatever, great theory there, dude. I just really don't have anything to add other than laughing at the phrase "horny jerk off situation", which I feel fairly certain should have been hyphenated somewhere in there.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

giving though they have little to spare...

this speaks for itself.

(this article can be seen in its original form at: http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/archives/002342.html )
THE HOMELESS men of St. John's Hospice don't have much. But they are gathering their pennies - literally - to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"They've already filled up two jars with coins, dollar bills, whatever they have," said Matthew Gambino, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Catholic Social Services runs the Race Street shelter, which houses about 40 men and feeds hundreds more each day.

The shelter's food service manager, Anthony Willoughby, helped come up with the idea, Gambino said, after the men said they desperately wanted to help in any way they could.

"They know what it's like, going without," said Donna Farrell, director of the archdiocese's Office for Communications.

sorting out opinion from fact on Katrina

I promise I will send some good news, soon, but I am too annoyed (and have been for years) about the blurring of the lines between fact and opinion on news television to let this pass unshared. i also thought it an appropriate follow up to the last article.

(this can be seen in its original form at: http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/9/7/141812/3897 )
By Larry Johnson | bio

From: Media

While watching the MSNBC program, CONNECTED, COAST TO COAST with Ron Reagan, a man from the Evergreen Foundation was on air spinning the myth that the President had to "beg" the Governor of Louisiana to take action. Having been on this show several times I called one of the bookers, Susan Durrwatcher, to alert her to the fact that this man was misrepresenting what happened. I offered Susan the following objective, documented facts (see timeline below). Susan thanked me for my "opinion" and said "we just have a different perspective". Stunned, I asked her by what standard of journalism that an objective fact was mere opinion? I asked her to simply look at the documents and correct the record. She declined. I asked her to remove me from the MSNBC list of contacts. I'm sure MSNBC won't miss me and I am certain I will have a happy life without having to subject myself to their unprofessional approach to journal! ism.
The Bush White House is furiously spinning to lay the blame on the Governor and Mayor of Louisiana. My position is that I think both the Governor and the Mayor can be faulted on a variety of fronts. I do not absolve them of their responsibility to properly and fully implement their own emergency response plans. However, the Governor followed the appropriate protocol and, in accordance with the National Response Plan (NRP), asked the President in accordance with the Stafford Act, to declare a State of Emergency.


Sep 07, 2005 -- 02:18:12 PM EST

Friday, 26 August 2005, Governor of Louisiana declares state of emergency
Saturday morning, 27 August 2005, Governor of Louisiana asks President Bush to declare a state of emergency and requests Federal Assistance "to save lives and property". Note, the letter was published on 27 August 2005 on Lexis Nexis but was dated 28 August 2005. Bush received the letter on Saturday and responded on the same day by declaring a State of Emergency. Note, per the NRP, William Lokey was designated as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in Louisiana.

Sunday, 28 August 2005, Mayor of New Orleans orders Mandatory Evacuation.

(Note: In Governor Blanco's request on the 27th, there is a specific request for help with evacuation and a specific request for help to "save lives and protect property". )

Monday, 29 August 2005, FEMA Director Brown requests DHS Secretary Chertoff's help in getting 1000 DHS employees ready to deploy to the disaster within 48 hours.

Under the National Response Plane (see p. 93, Figure 11), once the President declares a State of Emergency the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to implement the Plan. Initially, DHS is supposed to deploy an Emergency Response Team to the State to provide expertise in assessing needs and determining appropriate courses of action. Moreover, on p. 52 of the NRP the President may act proactively under the Stafford Act.

Folks, these are not OPINIONS, these are cold, objective facts. However, MSNBC and other members of the Main Stream Media are confused about what is a fact and what is opinion.

Whitehouse enacts plan to ease political damage

(I promise to send some cheerful news and shift my focus to the ways people are opening their hearts and homes to take care of the victims of this tragedy, but after reading this steam won't stop pouring out of my ears so I figured I would send it).

Did bush start taking this seriously because of the people dying? Because of a major city that turned into a toxic lake? Did he end his five week vacation two days early (two days after the hurricane hit) because he saw that strong leadership was necessary?

no, "These officials said that Mr. Bush and his political aides rapidly changed course in what they acknowledged was a belated realization of the situation's political ramifications."

He realized that strong photo ops were necessary. It has been said that in a democracy you have the leader you deserve; I pray that isn't true.

Make sure your stomach is empty when you read this or you may lose your lunch. Why bother doing a good job when you can just blame the locals after thousands you could have saved are dead? Why be good at policy or leadership when you can just be good at talking points?

(this can be seen in its original form at: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/national/nationalspecial/05bush.html?pagewanted=print )

September 5, 2005
White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 - Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.

As a result, Americans watching television coverage of the disaster this weekend began to see, amid the destruction and suffering, some of the most prominent members of the administration - Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense; and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state - touring storm-damaged communities.

Mr. Bush is to return to Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday; his first visit, on Friday, left some Republicans cringing, in part because the president had little contact with residents left homeless.

Republicans said the administration's effort to stanch the damage had been helped by the fact that convoys of troops and supplies had begun to arrive by the time the administration officials turned up. All of those developments were covered closely on television.

In many ways, the unfolding public relations campaign reflects the style Mr. Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Mr. Bush. For example, administration officials who went on television on Sunday were instructed to avoid getting drawn into exchanges about the problems of the past week, and to turn the discussion to what the government is doing now.

"We will have time to go back and do an after-action report, but the time right now is to look at what the enormous tasks ahead are," Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, said on "Meet the Press" on NBC.

One Republican with knowledge of the effort said that Mr. Rove had told administration officials not to respond to Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush's handling of the hurricane in the belief that the president was in a weak moment and that the administration should not appear to be seen now as being blatantly political. As with others in the party, this Republican would discuss the deliberations only on condition of anonymity because of keen White House sensitivity about how the administration and its strategy would be perceived.

In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.

"The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials," Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. "The federal government comes in and supports those officials."

That line of argument was echoed throughout the day, in harsher language, by Republicans reflecting the White House line.

In interviews, these Republicans said that the normally nimble White House political operation had fallen short in part because the president and his aides were scattered outside Washington on vacation, leaving no one obviously in charge at a time of great disruption. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were in Texas, while Vice President Dick Cheney was at his Wyoming ranch.

Mr. Bush's communications director, Nicolle Devenish, was married this weekend in Greece, and a number of Mr. Bush's political advisers - including Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman - attended the wedding.

Ms. Rice did not return to Washington until Thursday, after she was spotted at a Broadway show and shopping for shoes, an image that Republicans said buttressed the notion of a White House unconcerned with tragedy.

These officials said that Mr. Bush and his political aides rapidly changed course in what they acknowledged was a belated realization of the situation's political ramifications. As is common when this White House confronts a serious problem, management was quickly taken over by Mr. Rove and a group of associates including Mr. Bartlett. Neither man responded to requests for comment.

White House advisers said that Mr. Bush expressed alarm after his return to Washington from the Gulf Coast.

One senior White House official said that Mr. Bush appeared at a senior staff meeting in the Situation Room on Friday and called the results on the ground "unacceptable." At the encouragement of Mr. Bartlett, officials said, he repeated the comment later in the Rose Garden, the start of this campaign.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

frustrated: fire crews to hand out fliers for FEMA

I wish this were made up. don't miss the last paragraph.

(this article can be seen in its original form at: http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197 )

Frustrated: Fire crews to hand out fliers for FEMA
By Lisa Rosetta
The Salt Lake Tribune

Firefighters endure a day of FEMA training, which included a course on sexual harassment. Some firefighters say their skills are being wasted. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune)

ATLANTA - Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"
As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.
Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.
On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.
Federal officials are unapologetic.
"I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country," said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak.
The firefighters - or at least the fire chiefs who assigned them to come to Atlanta - knew what the assignment would be, Hudak said.
"The initial call to action very specifically says we're looking for two-person fire teams to do community relations," she said. "So if there is a breakdown [in communication], it was likely in their own departments."
One fire chief from Texas agreed that the call was clear to work as community-relations officers. But he wonders why the 1,400 firefighters FEMA attracted to Atlanta aren't being put to better use. He also questioned why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - of which FEMA is a part - has not responded better to the disaster.
The firefighters, several of whom are from Utah, were told to bring backpacks, sleeping bags, first-aid kits and Meals Ready to Eat. They were told to prepare for "austere conditions." Many of them came with awkward fire gear and expected to wade in floodwaters, sift through rubble and save lives.
"They've got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified," said a Texas firefighter. "We're sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven't been contacted yet."
The firefighter, who has encouraged his superiors back home not to send any more volunteers for now, declined to give his name because FEMA has warned them not to talk to reporters.
On Monday, two firefighters from South Jordan and two from Layton headed for San Antonio to help hurricane evacuees there. Four firefighters from Roy awaited their marching orders, crossing their fingers that they would get to do rescue and recovery work, rather than paperwork.
"A lot of people are bickering because there are rumors they'll just be handing out fliers," said Roy firefighter Logan Layne, adding that his squad hopes to be in the thick of the action. "But we'll do anything. We'll do whatever



they need us to do."
While FEMA's community-relations job may be an important one - displaced hurricane victims need basic services and a variety of resources - it may be a job best suited for someone else, say firefighters assembled at the Sheraton.
"It's a misallocation of resources. Completely," said the Texas firefighter.
"It's just an under-utilization of very talented people," said South Salt Lake Fire Chief Steve Foote, who sent a team of firefighters to Atlanta. "I was hoping once they saw the level of people . . . they would shift gears a little bit."
Foote said his crews would be better used doing the jobs they are trained to do.
But Louis H. Botta, a coordinating officer for FEMA, said sending out firefighters on community relations makes sense. They already have had background checks and meet the qualifications to be sworn as a federal employee. They have medical training that will prove invaluable as they come across hurricane victims in the field.
A firefighter from California said he feels ill prepared to even carry out the job FEMA has assigned him. In the field, Hurricane Katrina victims will approach him with questions about everything from insurance claims to financial assistance.
"My only answer to them is, '1-800-621-FEMA,' " he said. "I'm not used to not being in the know."
Roy Fire Chief Jon Ritchie said his crews would be a "little frustrated" if they were assigned to hand out phone numbers at an evacuee center in Texas rather than find and treat victims of the disaster.
Also of concern to some of the firefighters is the cost borne by their municipalities in the wake of their absence. Cities are picking up the tab to fill the firefighters' vacancies while they work 30 days for the federal government.
"There are all of these guys with all of this training and we're sending them out to hand out a phone number," an Oregon firefighter said. "They [the hurricane victims] are screaming for help and this day [of FEMA training] was a waste."
Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.
But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

international aid being refused

feel free to skip my ranting and just read the list of aid being turned away. It really doesn't need comment.

A week later, and there are still trapped people dying because they still haven't gotten help. It isn't for lack of resources, we live in the wealthiest nation on the planet and even if we didn't, international help is being offered like crazy...and being turned away. But then so is help being offered by rescue teams from within the country.

FEMA (like most other important agencies under this administration) is being run by political hires with no emergency response experience, so they have no idea how to manage the crisis and their incompetence is killing people. The American public has stepped to the plate to offer assistance and expertise, and the feds are tying their hands and making us sit back and watch while people die. Make no mistake: this isn't a failure of government in general; this is a failure because of political hires instead of merit-based hiring. There are experts prepared to handle and organize on this scale, but they are not the people appointed by this admin. Their appointments are strictly political and they don't care one bit about expertise and punish those whose expertise goes against their political desires. They sidelined the recommendations of generals and career military leaders and made messes of our military endevours in Iraq and Afganistan. I didn't think we should have invaded Iraq, but it could have been done properly and should have been. The failure isn't because we didn't have people with the expertise to do it right, they just weren't the ones running the show.

Now they want to put through john roberts, with 2 (count them, 2) years experience as a judge to lead the supreme court! Not just be a justice, but to be CHIEF JUSTICE! I haven't screamed about him even though I think he is an awful pick (brief career, questionable stances on racial and gender issues, federalist membership/lying about it, but mostly because he is a coroporate stooge. We don't need another creep who thinks companies are more important than people) but to lead the court? This isn't about ideology, this is about expertise and this administration hiring one inexperienced dupe after another and us paying for it in blood.

anyway, this is a list of what resources and help we have been offered. Part of this backlog is because the secretary of state stayed on vacation til she was run out of NYC last thursday instead of coordinating international aid, but also FEMA being run by people who dont' know what to do so they are just telling everyone to hold their horses.

and their incompetence is killing people.

(this can be seen in its original form at: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/5/03413/61586 )

The Feds are STILL refusing assistance!!!!!!

by Ptolemy

Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 21:34:13 PDT

NGOs are still being held at the borders of NOLA and other affected areas. Refugees are often being bused directly past these staging zones to the processing centers in TX.

Physicians are going by the thousands to the Gulf of Mexico, but they are being turned away in many cases or told to wait at the periphery.

And International Aid? The inmates are still running the State Department.

CNN is reporting that the White House and the State Dept. refuse to say whether they've refused or accepted most of the aid pledged.

International aid listed below the fold ... appreciate the enormity of the Federal callousness. And the good will of the world to Americans.

Ptolemy's diary :: ::

The US has only officially accepted first aid kits, blankets, water trucks and 500,000 MREs from the EU and another set of MREs from NATO. That's it. The EU and NATO want to give more, but that's all that's been taken in so far.

All help from the UN still awaits the green light from the White House. They have offered medical teams, cash grants, and tents. None of it has been accepted.

The UN has also offered to take the burden off of the US State Department and organize the aid effort, but State has refused that offer.

The OAS stands ready to offer anything we ask for. We've asked for nothing.

WHO has offered the same. Our response has been the same.

The UN Commission for Refugees ... same offer, same response.

Nigeria wants to give 1 million dollars.

China has offered 5 million, divisions of its armed forces, and physicians.

Japan has offered 200,000 dollars, tents, blankets, and power generators.

India is offering 5 million, as well as any requested medicines.

Singapore offered helicopters. The Feds said no, and TX took them. TX National Guard is deploying the helicopters directly to NOLA.

South Korea will give us whatever we ask for. We've asked for nothing.

Afghanistan wants to give us 100,000.

Sri Lanka wants to give us 25,000

Taiwan wants to give us 3 million.

Canada's Navy is still on hold. That's rescue workers and supplies just being held at bay by mild threats of being attacked if they go against the Federal level refusal.

Cuba has offered 26 tons of medicine and 1,100 physicians. He has offered to send it to NOLA. Then he offered to send it to Houston. No acceptance.

Mexico is taking the "Canada route." They have 15 truckloads of water waiting at the border, with food and medical supplies. The Mexican navy has offered to send two ships, two helicopters and 15 amphibious vehicles. All waiting. No answer. 1 million dollars as well.

Venezuela is offering as much cheap fuel as we ask for. AS MUCH AS WE NEED TO FIX THIS MESS. No answer. Chavez also wants to send relief workers with supplies.

Australia's 10 million hasn't been accepted either.

The French are offering rescue teams, civil defense forces, tents, camp beds, generators, motor pumps, water treatment units and emergency kits, two CASA cargo aircraft, a ship (Batral Francis Garnier), the frigate Ventose with its Panther helicopter, and a hurricane disaster unit. France also has offered several aircraft. In addition, the NGO Telecoms Sans Frontieres, which specializes in restoring phone lines and Internet service in disasters, is ready to send a team of experts and equipment. Veolia Environment, which has facilities in Louisiana, has offered to make its local water management resources available. Nothing. Not a one of these has been given the green light.

Germany has offered a range of assistance, including medical and transportation services, water treatment capabilities and aid in searching for victims and supplies. Germany also has said it is ready and willing to "dip into its own emergency oil reserves" to release some 2 million barrels a day for 30 days. Someone try to convince me that Bush isn't trying to drive up the price of oil.

Italy has offered to send aid and evacuation specialists immediately, Italy's civil protection unit said. Authorities have prepared two military transport planes to fly amphibious vessels, pumps, generators, tents and personnel to New Orleans, Louisiana, and other areas. They were awaiting word from U.S. officials, the unit said.

The Netherlands will provide teams for inspecting dikes and for identifying victims if there is a formal request from the United States. It also will send a frigate from Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles to New Orleans shortly to provide emergency assistance, the Dutch government said.

Russia has offered to help with rescue efforts but is awaiting a reply from Washington.

Spain expects to receive a formal request to release gasoline stocks to the United States and is prepared to grant it, an Industry Ministry spokesman said.

Sweden's Rescue Authority said it was on standby to supply water purifying equipment, health care supplies and emergency shelters if needed.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said his country stands ready to help the United States in whatever way it can.

Qatar has offered the United States $100 million to assist in the humanitarian crisis triggered by Hurricane Katrina.

Saudi Refining, a Houston-based subsidiary of state oil firm Saudi Aramco, will donate $5 million to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for hurricane victims.

Iran has offered to send humanitarian aid to hurricane victims.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

a snippet from "meet the press" and a few thoughts...

I am sending a snippet from the transcript of "meet the press" with Tim Russert talking with the president of Jefferson Parish.

I have gotten a few things and seen a few things with people saying that it isn't the time for finger pointing or even suggesting that liberals/democrats are 'happy' to have had such a disaster and are enjoying a political feeding frenzy. First, people in Louisiana are still in critical situations and the aid STILL isn't there a whole WEEK later, and this is why we (liberal, conservative, whatever) are all screaming bloody murder and begging the powers that be to do their friggin' jobs or get out of the way and let people who want to get things done do it. It was only with finger pointing that condoleeza rice stopped vacationing 4 days after the disaster and went back to washington so international aid could be coordinated (until she was back on the job, we were telling other countries that we weren't asking for aid yet. Canada had eighteen wheeler after eighteen wheeler packed with emergency supplies and water waiting to send it and were told to wait, while we had 10,000+ people stuck in the super dome with no water or food and she went shoe shopping). Bush took three days to get back on the job and four before he went near New Orleans. And people still aren't evacuated.

This is not about democrats or liberals getting political capital out of this and anyone who could begin to suggest that anyone is 'happy' this happened is a monster. None of this wish this had happened and none of us are happy about how horribly the president is handling this. I wish more than anything that he had done a snappy job with this, I wish that he suddenly would start, but it hasn't happened and how he is handling this has killed thousands and will kill thousands more if they don't shape up.

This administration is a gross failure. They were a failure in how they handled 9/11 and its aftermath(I know they wave it around as a success, but good luck finding someone in this city who agrees with you), they have been a failure in how they handled Afganistan and Iraq and they are failing us now. they have made us less safe on all fronts and more economically unstable. Now is the time for finger pointing because I don't want there to be a next time. I want them shamed into listening to experts and warnings, I want them shamed into doing some real planning, I want them shamed into some fiscal responsibility, emergency preparedness, responsible policy...all of these things or I want them out. This isn't about getting democrats in. If you can find a good honest republican leader who is more worried about policy than politics, fine, we need a leader now and we have needed one for the last five years. We need someone who won't hire for the head of FEMA one of their moron buddies who had been fired from his last job with a horse association for gross mismanagement and incompetence and who left that association in shambles and debt. We need some one who hires people that actually know how to do what they are supposed to be doing and sees something in an emergency other than dollar signs (yes, halliburton has already been given a contract to rebuild in New Orleans).

but enough of my screaming from a distance, read the experiences of someone there (and I highly recommend following the link and reading the whole discussion):
(this can be seen in its original form at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9179790/ )

MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.
Jefferson Parish President Broussard, let me start with you. You just heard the director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?
MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy. We have months to go. We have years to go. And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain-sawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.
It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. It's so obvious. FEMA needs more congressional funding. It needs more presidential support. It needs to be a Cabinet-level director. It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America. FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do. It needs to come somewhere, like New Orleans, with all of its force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives. Forget about the property. We can rebuild the property. It's got to be able to come in and save lives.
We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to-- reconstructing FEMA.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Broussard, let me ask--I want to ask--should...
MR. BROUSSARD: You know, just some quick examples...
MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?
MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.
Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away." When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. "FEMA says don't give you the fuel." Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.
But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach. I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people. It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.
MR. RUSSERT: All right.
MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...
MR. RUSSERT: All right.
MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...
MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

Friday, September 02, 2005

a thing which caught my eye...

In the NYTimes' daily email, this was today's quote of the day:
"We're just a bunch of rats," said Earle Young, 31, a cook who stood waiting in a throng of perhaps 10,000 outside the Superdome, waiting in the blazing sun for buses to take them away from the city. "That's how they've been treating us."

Maybe it isn't a reason for sending an article that I haven't had a chance to read yet, but seeing Grandaddy's name (even if it obviously is someone else) kind of jolted me and I will read the article when I have more time. Anyway...

(this article can be seen in its original form at: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/02/national/nationalspecial/02storm.html?th&emc=th )

September 2, 2005
Local Officials Criticize Federal Government Over Response
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 1 - Despair, privation and violent lawlessness grew so extreme in New Orleans on Thursday that the flooded city's mayor issued a "desperate S O S" and other local officials, describing the security situation as horrific, lambasted the federal government as responding too slowly to the disaster.

Thousands of refugees from Hurricane Katrina boarded buses for Houston, but others quickly took their places at the filthy, teeming Superdome, which has been serving as the primary shelter. At the increasingly unsanitary convention center, crowds swelled to about 25,000 and desperate refugees clamored for food, water and attention while dead bodies, slumped in wheelchairs or wrapped in sheets, lay in their midst.

"Some people there have not eaten or drunk water for three or four days, which is inexcusable," acknowledged Joseph W. Matthews, the director of the city's Office of Emergency Preparedness.

"We need additional troops, food, water," Mr. Matthews begged, "and we need personnel, law enforcement. This has turned into a situation where the city is being run by thugs."

Three days after the hurricane hit, bringing widespread destruction to the Gulf Coast and ruinous floods to low-lying New Orleans, the White House said President Bush would tour the region on Friday. Citing the magnitude of the disaster, federal officials defended their response so far and pledged that more help was coming. The Army Corps of Engineers continued work to close a levee breach that allowed water from Lake Pontchartrain to pour into New Orleans.

The effects of the disaster spilled out over the country. In Houston, the city began to grapple with the logistics of taking tens of thousands of refugees into the Astrodome. American Red Cross officials said late Thursday night that the Astrodome was full after accepting more than 11,000 refugees and that evacuees were being sent to other shelters in the Houston area.

Elsewhere, San Antonio and Dallas each braced for the arrival of 25,000 more, and Baton Rouge overnight replaced New Orleans as the most populous city in Louisiana and was bursting at the seams.

The devastation in the Gulf Coast also continued to roil oil markets, sending gasoline prices soaring in many areas of the country. In North Carolina, Gov. Michael F. Easley called on citizens to conserve fuel while two big pipelines that supply most of the state's gasoline were brought back on line.

Throughout the stricken region, scores of frantic people, without telephone service, asked for help contacting friends or relatives whose fates they did not know. Some ended up finding them dead. Others had emotional reunions. Newspapers offered toll-free numbers or Web message boards for the searches.

Meanwhile, the situation in New Orleans continued to deteriorate. Angry crowds chanted cries for help, and some among them rushed chaotically at helicopters bringing in food. Although Mayor C. Ray Nagin speculated that thousands might have died, officials said they still did not have a clear idea of the precise toll.

"We're just a bunch of rats," said Earle Young, 31, a cook who stood waiting in a throng of perhaps 10,000 outside the Superdome, waiting in the blazing sun for buses to take them away from the city. "That's how they've been treating us."

Chaos and gunfire hampered efforts to evacuate the Superdome, and, Superintendent P. Edward Compass III of the New Orleans Police Department said, armed thugs have taken control of the secondary makeshift shelter at the convention center. Superintendent Compass said that the thugs repelled eight squads of 11 officers each he had sent to secure the place and that rapes and assaults were occurring unimpeded in the neighboring streets as criminals "preyed upon" passers-by, including stranded tourists.

Mr. Compass said the federal government had taken too long to send in the thousands of troops - as well as the supplies, fuel, vehicles, water and food - needed to stabilize his now "very, very tenuous" city.

Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," he said "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."

"We are like little birds with our mouths open and you don't have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm," Colonel Ebbert said. "It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane." FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Federal officials took pains to defend their efforts, maintaining that supplies were pouring into the area even before the hurricane struck, that thousands of National Guard members had arrived to help secure the city and that thousands more would join them in coming days.

Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana said some 300 National Guard members from Arkansas were flying into New Orleans with the express task of reclaiming the city. "They have M-16's and they are locked and loaded," she said.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington, Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, said that the Superdome had "crowd control issues" but that it was secure. He referred to what he called "isolated incidents of criminality" in the city.

Mr. Chertoff said Hurricane Katrina had presented a "double challenge" because it was really two disasters in one: the storm and then the flooding.

"For those who wonder why it is that it is difficult to get these supplies and these medical teams into place, the answer is they are battling an ongoing dynamic problem with the water," he said.

On Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers was battling the water problem by finishing a metal wall across the mouth of the 17th Street Canal, the source of most of the flooding. Once finished, the wall was expected to staunch the flow from Lake Pontchartrain into the canal, which would allow engineers to repair a breach in the levee and to start pumping water from the city.

The federal government's other priority was to evacuate New Orleans, Mr. Chertoff said. To that end, some 200 buses had left the Superdome for the Astrodome in Houston by midday, he said, adding that another 200 buses were expected to start loading passengers later Thursday and that Louisiana was providing an additional 500 school buses.

On the receiving end in Houston, though, the Astrodome looked at times like a squatters' camp in a war-torn country. The refugees from Louisiana, many dirty and hungry, wandered about aimlessly, checking bulletin boards for information about their relatives, queuing up for supplies and pay phones, mobbing Red Cross volunteers to obtain free T-shirts. Many found some conditions similar to those that they left behind at the Superdome, like clogged toilets and foul restrooms.

But in Houston, there were hot showers, crates of Bibles and stacks of pizzas, while in New Orleans, many refugees scrounged for diapers, water and basic survival.

The Senate convened a special session at 10 p.m. Thursday to pass the an emergency supplemental spending bill providing $10.5 billion for relief efforts.

Senator Thad Cochran, the Mississippi Republican who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said he had just returned from his home state. "The whole coastal area of the state has been destroyed, virtually destroyed," he said. "It was quiet. It was eerie. It was horrible to behold."

House leaders intended to hold a special session Friday to approve the measure.

Even as administration officials pledged vast resources to the region, however, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, told a local newspaper, The Daily Herald, that he was skeptical about using billions in federal money to rebuild New Orleans, given its vulnerability. "It doesn't make sense to me," Mr. Hastert said. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."

He later sought to clarify his comments, saying in a statement: "I am not advocating that the city be abandoned or relocated. My comments about rebuilding the city were intended to reflect my sincere concern with how the city is rebuilt to ensure the future protection of its citizens."

Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans, had stayed in his Garden District home through the storm and its immediate aftermath. But on Thursday his generator was running out of fuel, and he was tiring.

"People have only so much staying power with no infrastructure," Dr. Penland said. "I am boarding up my house today and will hopefully be in Baton Rouge or the north shore tonight."

Joseph B. Treaster reported from New Orleans, and Deborah Sontag from New York. Jeremy Alford contributed reporting from Baton Rouge, La.; Felicity Barringer from Metairie, La.; Christine Hauser from New York; and Simon Romero from Houston.

transcript of New Orleans' Mayor speaking over the radio

I have nothing to add to this but please take the time to read this one:

(this can be seen in its original form at: http://www.wonkette.com/politics//nagins-nightmare-full-transcript-123683.php )

Nagin's Nightmare: Full Transcript

CNN just sent out the full transcript of the New Orleans Mayor's emotional and (understandably) expletive-laden interview on local radio yesterday: "excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed."

It's after the jump.

CNN airs WWL Radio interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray ;

This is a rush transcript and may not be in its final format.

RAY NAGIN, MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. And that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we're out-manned in just about every respect.

You know the reason why the looters got out of control? Because we had most of our resources saving people, thousands of people that were stuck in attics, man, old ladies. When you pull off the doggone ventilator vent and you look down there and they're standing in there in water up to their freaking necks.

And they don't have a clue what's going on down here. They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed.

GARLAND ROBINETTE, WWL CORRESPONDENT: Did you say to the president of the United States, "I need the military in here"?

NAGIN: I said, "I need everything."

Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this -- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is General Honore.

And he came off the doggone chopper and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done.

They ought to give that guy -- if they don't want to give it to me, give him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.

ROBINETTE: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?

NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here.

I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound busline in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.

I've got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It's bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. They're air-vacing people over here in New Orleans. We don't have anything and we're sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish.

It's awful down here, man.

ROBINETTE: Do you believe that the president is seeing this, holding a news conference on it but can't do anything until Kathleen Blanco requested him to do it? And do you know whether or not she has made that request?

NAGIN: I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You know, God is looking down on all this and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you.

We're getting reports and calls that are breaking my heart, from people saying, "I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out." And that's happening as we speak.

You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. We don't care what you do. Figure it out."

ROBINETTE: Who'd you say that to?

NAGIN: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we said it.

And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under water. Our sewage and water board people -- Marcia St. Martin (ph) -- stayed there and endangered their lives.

And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started flowing again in the city and it starting getting to levels that probably killed more people. In addition to that, we had water flowing through the pipes in the city. That's a power station over there. So there's no water flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water supply was destroyed because of lack of

ROBINETTE: Why couldn't they drop the 3,000-pound sandbags or the containers that they were talking about earlier? Was it an engineering feat that just couldn't be done?

NAGIN: They said it was some pulleys that they had to manufacture. But, you know, in a state of emergency, man, you are creative, you figure out ways to get stuff done.

Then they told me that they went overnight and they built 17 concrete structures and they had the pulleys on them and they were going to drop them.

I flew over that thing yesterday and it's in the same shape that it was after the storm hit. There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here.

ROBINETTE: If some of the public called and they're right, that

there's a law that the president, that the federal government can't do anything without local or state requests, would you request martial law?

NAGIN: I've already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans. We did that a few days ago.

ROBINETTE: Did the governor do that, too?

NAGIN: I don't know. I don't think so.

But we called for martial law when we realized that the looting was getting out of control. And we redirected all of our police officers back to patrolling the streets. They were dead-tired from saving people but they worked all night because we thought this thing was going to blow wide open last night. And so we redirected all of our resources and we hold it under check.

I'm not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources.

And I am telling you right now: They're showing all these reports of people looting and doing all that weird stuff, and they are doing that, but people are desperate and they're trying to find food and water, the majority of them.

Now, you got some knuckle heads out there and they are taking advantage of this lawless -- this situation where, you know, we can't really control it, and they're doing some awful, awful things. But that's a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.

And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it.

You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's that reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drug stores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will.

And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug- starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun.

ROBINETTE: Well, you and I must be in the minority. Because apparently there's a section of our citizenry out there that thinks because of a law that says the federal government can't come in unless requested by the proper people, that everything that's going on to this point has been done as good as it can possibly be.

NAGIN: Really?

ROBINETTE: I know you don't feel that way.

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there?

What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

ROBINETTE: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody need to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

ROBINETTE: What can we do here?

NAGIN: Keep talking about it.

ROBINETTE: We'll do that. What else can we do?

NAGIN: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices with requests to do something.

This is ridiculous.

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late.

Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

ROBINETTE: I'll say it right now, you're the only politician that's called and called for arms like this. And if -- whatever it takes, the governor, president -- whatever law precedent it takes, whatever it takes, I bet that the people listening to you are on your side.

NAGIN: Well, I hope so, Garland. I am just -- I'm at the point now where it don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time.

ROBINETTE: We're both pretty speechless here.

NAGIN: Yeah, I don't know what to say.

I got to go.

ROBINETTE: OK. Keep in touch. Keep in touch.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I can't stop looking at the coverage about Katrina and the damage left in her wake. I am simultaneously hopeful and fearful and horrified and just plain mad.

Hopeful and touched as I hear about the good things people are doing and everyone donating money to the redcross and opening their homes to people (in addition to the link I sent earlier, a friend told me they had signed up through the Red Cross saying they had availible rooms). The generousity that pours out when disasters hit is amazing.

But I can't help but get angry over how some of this is being handled. Some of it is just the nature of the beast: devastating storm + highly populated coastal region/low-lying city = tragedy. But the response isn't what it could/should be. I'll go into the why-this-never-should-have-turned-out-this-way stuff later, but this little snippet kind of makes me want to pull my hair out.

I am sending you a posting from a NYC gossip blog, Gawker. Basically, they write about things that are happening in the city with an eye towards media and celebrity and also anyone can write in with behind the scenes gossip or sightings around town. So you get lots of silly "I saw Kevin Bacon at the Lincoln Center walking with a group of guys; he is taller than you would think," stuff, but also updates on business/subway/neighborhood changes and whatnot. So anyway, it turns out our secretary of state is vacationing in NYC while the Gulf Coast is reeling from the hurricanes damage and people are dying and rescue efforts are confused, and so not too suprisingly she isn't getting the warmest reception.

(this article can be seen in its original form at: http://www.gawker.com/news/condoleezza-rice/breaking-condi-rice-spends-salary-on-shoes-123467.php )
Breaking: Condi Rice Spends Salary on Shoes
READ MORE: breaking, condoleezza rice, fashion, ferragamo, metro, weather

According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.

What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

Angry Lady, whoever you are, we love you. You are a true American, and we’ll go shoe shopping with you anytime.

FW: Emergency housing drive at www.hurricanehousing.org. Pass it on.

I am still in shock looking at the images of the devastation. I was actually wondering how people are rallying to make space for the refugees of this devastation, since New Orleans and the Mississppi coast are going to be out of commission for months and hundreds of thousands of people will be homeless for the foreseeable future, when I got this email alert.

Do people know of any other widespread organized efforts? I was particularly interested whether any of the major denominations national organizations (United Methodists, southern baptists, etc.) had called for congregations to set up shelters in their gymnasiums or for congregation members to take people into their homes. Are local churches taking these actions of their own initive? I know lots of folks on this list are in areas that were hit hard and are probably just trying to get their own situation taken care of, but I'd love to hear what is going on in folks' communities as people get a chance to write or hear about projects being undertaken.

You are all in my prayers,


From: **
To: **
Subject: Emergency housing drive at www.hurricanehousing.org. Pass it on.
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2005 11:01:17 -0700

Do you have a spare room, bed or couch to offer a family fleeing hurricane Katrina?

Please forward this message to anyone in the Southeast who can help.
Dear MoveOn member,

Hurricane Katrina's toll on communities, homes and lives has devastated the nation. Now victims must face the daunting question of where to go next—and we can help.

Tens of thousands of newly homeless families are being bused to a stadium in Houston, where they may wait for weeks or months. At least 80,000 are competing for area shelters, and countless more are in motels, cars, or wherever they can stay out of the elements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross are scrambling to find shelter for the displaced.

This morning, we've launched an emergency national housing drive to connect your empty beds with hurricane victims who desperately need a place to wait out the storm. You can post your offer of housing (a spare room, extra bed, even a decent couch) and search for available housing online at:


Housing is most urgently needed within reasonable driving distance (about 300 miles) of the affected areas in the Southeast, especially New Orleans.

Please forward this message to anyone you know in the region who might be able to help.

But no matter where you live, your housing could still make a world of difference to a person or family in need, so please offer what you can.

The process is simple:

You can sign up to become a host by posting a description of whatever housing you have available, along with contact information. You can change or remove your offer at any time.

Hurricane victims, local and national relief organizations, friends and relatives can search the site for housing. We'll do everything we can to get your offers where they are needed most. Many shelters actually already have Internet access, but folks without 'net access can still make use of the site through case workers and family members.

Hurricane victims or relief agencies will contact hosts and together decide if it's a good match and make the necessary travel arrangements. The host's address is not released until a particular match is agreed on.

If hosting doesn't work for you, please consider donating to the Red Cross to help with the enormous tasks of rescue and recovery. You can give online at:


As progressives, we share a core belief that we are all in this together, and today is an important chance to put that idea to work. There are thousands of families who have just lost everything and need a place to stay dry. Let's do what we can to help.


Thanks for being there when it matters most.

—Noah Winer and the whole MoveOn.org Civic Action Team
Thursday, September 1st, 2005


Monday, August 29, 2005


Hey guys,

All politics aside, I hope everyone is safe and sound as Katrina moves across the south. I'm praying for you. Stay safe!